Who Invented Stairlifts

Stairlifts are mechanical devices that are designed to transported people up and down stairs when walking has become difficult and dangerous. Modern stairlifts are excellent devices and can be fitted to all kinds of staircase, allowing owners to remain independent in their own homes. The use of a stairlift in the home is common with elderly people as well as those with disabilities and injuries that have left them unable to navigate stairs. They can be installed on a permanent basis or to cover a short-term need when a person is recovering from illness or injury.

Many people are familiar with the modern stairlift but are not aware of who invented stairlifts and who can lay claim to pioneering this much needed and beneficial piece of equipment.

Who is the original inventor of the stairlift?

There are different answers to “who invented the stairlift?” and the answer you receive will depend on who you ask or where you seek your information.

Going back in history, the first person with a claim to inventing the stairlift is King Henry VIII of England. The king is generally more well known for founding the Church of England and having six wives but research carried about by world renowned historian Dr. David Starkey indicates that King of England was also the inventor of the stairlift.

The chair is described in royal records as ‘a chair that goeth up and down’, and was a bespoke design that Henry VIII used along with several wheelchairs (likely to be known as ‘wheel-thrones’) to transport his 30 stone weight around his residences of Whitehall, Hampton Court and Greenwich. The stairlift was thought to have been mostly in use at Whitehall where there were grand 20ft staircases that the King was unable to navigate.

It is thought the invention was created when the king suffered a serious accident when jousting causing him to fall from his horse. A wound to the calf was sustained and was improperly treated; this resulted in an ulcer which would continue to erupt, leaving the king unable to venture too far from his residences.

The stairlift is thought to have been a based on a block and tackle system, similar to what was used on the king’s warship the Mary Rose. The king would have been seated while servants pulled on ropes to lift his body.

Modern day stairlifts

Until recently the answer to “who invented stairlifts?” has been an American businessman by the name of C.C Crispen. A resident of Pennsylvania, Crispen was a self-taught engineer that was inspired to create the stairlift due to the illness of a friend which left him unable to climb stairs. Crispen called his stairlift the ‘Inclin-ator’ and it was the first of the stairlifts that are so common today.

Many people assume that the answer to “who invented stairlifts?” is Patrick Stannah and the British company ‘Stannah’. It wasn’t until 1974 that Stannah introduced their version of the stairlift, but the company has since became the market leader and pioneered many of the modern features.

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